John & Waleed (Theatre Passe Muraille and Cahoots Theatre)

Photo of John Millard and Waleed Abdulhamid by Michael Cooper

John & Waleed Bridge Worlds and Harmonies at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille

I walked into to John & Waleed, now playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace, expecting an afternoon of pleasant tunes from the eponymous creators/performers John Millard and Waleed Abdulhamid, but I was worried that this show featuring “harmonies” created out of “dissonant upbringings” would be too easy on our increasingly troubled times.

Fortunately John & Waleed proved me wrong by subtly provoking complicated questions on identity and history rather than placating them.

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Review: One Step at a Time (Andrew Prashad)

Andrew Prashad’s one-person show lands on the Toronto stage

You know how once in a while you leap to your feet at the end of a performance and it’s almost an involuntary reaction? That was me – and the rest of the audience – on Saturday evening after seeing Andrew Prashad in his one-person show One Step at a Time at the Randolph Theatre. Continue reading Review: One Step at a Time (Andrew Prashad)

Playlistings in Toronto for the week of February 20th

Shows That Caught Our Eye in Toronto the Week of February 20th, 2017

With so many new shows opening this week in Toronto, you may have trouble deciding which famous (or local!) writer you want to spend an evening with. To help you in your decision-making is our editor Samantha. She’s chosen a fews shows that caught her eye in red text. Check them out below the cut:

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Review: Deceitful Above All Things (The Storefront Theatre and Favour The Brave Collective)

Photo of Genevieve Adam and John Fitzgerald Jay in Deceitful Above All Things Storefront Theatre presents a tale of discovery in the new world, on stage in Toronto

The ‘new world’ is more than just a struggle to survive, it’s also a struggle to let go of who you really are in the wilderness. The Storefront Theatre’s Deceitful Above All Things — done in association with Favour The Brave Collective — playing at the Factory Theatre Studio attempts to strip away historical veneers of Canada in the 1600’s to get at the humanity underneath.

While there’s a wealth of material, I can’t help but think all that focus on humanity also lost some of the plot.

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Preview: 38th Rhubarb Festival (Buddies In Bad Times Theatre)

Well known for its genre-bending, experimental nature and risk-taking ethos, Rhubarb Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is a wild ride of multiple short performances every night. In previous years I have had stories whispered in my ear, watched snippets of opera, voluntarily locked myself in a closet with clowns, thrilled to splendid choreography, watched rapt at profoundly honest storytelling, been issued an identity card that marks me forever as a Big Spoon, and more (so much more). A mix of emerging performers and established talents (often working in new idioms), it’s a delight for all the senses.

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Review: Five Faces For Evelyn Frost (Canadian Stage and Theatre francais de Toronto)


Five Faces for Evelyn Frost experiments with social media to tell a story, on stage in Toronto

A quintet of youthful white-appearing actors, rapidly changing projection of photographs, bright white light, onslaught of short declarative sentences, nonlinear storytelling — taken together, these form most of the new show Five Faces For Evelyn Frost at Canadian Stage. If two or more of these appeal to you, you might find Five Faces For Evelyn Frost an appealing artistic work. I did not.

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Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (George Brown Theatre)

George Brown showcases promising talent on stage in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

If you’re in need of some Shakespeare, then you can get your fix in the distillery district this month. The George Brown School of Performing Arts is putting on a double feature of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It at The Young Centre for the Performing Arts.

This is strictly a review of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. When I first saw the posting, I naively assumed that it was some sort of mashup, selection of scenes, or drastically cut versions being performed together. This isn’t the case: if you go on a given night you’ll be seeing one or the other, and in my case it was Midsummer. Continue reading Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (George Brown Theatre)

Review: Peace River Country (Tarragon Theatre)

The cast of "Peace River Country."Environmentalism and Faith feature in Peace River Country, now on stage in Toronto

Tarragon Theatre’s production of Peace River Country takes to the stage with the story of a rural Albertan family whose life is progressively destroyed by incoming gas-mining companies. The family fights back, the situation escalates, and the result is a suspenseful, well-crafted drama that resonates with today’s ongoing environmental struggles.

I loved Peace River Country; I thought the performances were superb, the production design thoughtful and creative, and the dialogue believable and well-written. But Peace River Country also has a very strong theme of Christianity, and I can imagine the centrality of this theme might be off-putting to some audience members.

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